Rep. Peter Welch unveils bill to prevent warrantless GPS tracking

By Eric W. Dolan
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 20:34 EDT
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U.S Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT) announced bipartisan House legislation on Wednesday to regulate how mobile devices’ location data can be used by law enforcement, commercial entities or private citizens.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) co-authored the Geolocation, Privacy and Security (GPS) Act and related legislation has been introduced to the Senate by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

Welch announced his support for the bill in Montpelier and Brattleboro.

“Consumers greatly benefit from a multitude of new technologies and devices, but there is also a downside,” he said. “Abuse of this technology can lead to an invasion of privacy and civil liberties. Our bill provides a clean legal framework on when and how this technology can be used. It provides much-needed clarity to consumers, law enforcement and commercial providers.”

The GPS Act would require the government to show probable cause and get a warrant before acquiring the geolocational information of a U.S. person and create criminal penalties for secretly using an electronic device to track a person’s movements. It would also prohibit businesses from sharing customers’ geolocational information with third parties without the customer’s consent.

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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